Best recruiting class in TCU history? This picture says it all

It could be argued, in retrospect, that the 2006 recruiting class is the best in .

If you‘re considering NFL careers as part of the equation, it‘s no contest.

Six of the 18 prospects played in the NFL and five, astoundingly, are still active pros. For a league with an average career of three seasons, the longevity of one recruiting class from TCU is extraordinary. It could be argued that the ‘06 class was the turning point in coach Gary Patterson‘s 18-year tenure running the .

“I still remember us walking into the Clark dorm room looking at each other, all strangers, all new, we’re all sizing each other up,” said Jerry Hughes, who was drafted in the first round of the ‘10 NFL draft. “We had some great memories here. For all of us to still be in the league, still going strong. It’s fun to get a chance to talk to them.”

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More than 30 former TCU players, including 11 currently in the NFL, spent time catching up and cheering on on Friday.

Later that day, about 35 former players and their wives and girlfriends gathered at Patterson‘s house for a reunion dinner. That included Hughes, Andy Dalton, and Marcus Cannon, who were all part of the ‘06 recruiting class, and Colin Jones, all still playing in the NFL.

“I’m hoping I’m in a good mood after the scrimmage,” joked Patterson, who was about to oversee the current Frogs‘ team in a scrimmage on Friday afternoon. “It’s fun to watch them get older. Once they graduate I get a chance to be Gary. Now they’re adults and they needed to be treated that way.”

Patterson said these yearly reunions are one of the perks of staying at the same school for 21 years.

“You have a relationship you go through that nobody else has the chance to go through,” he said. “We know them as well and maybe better than their parents know them sometimes. They never quit being yours. I wrote five job recommendations in the last 45 days. That’s why you stay somewhere for 21 years, they know they have a place to turn back to.”

Hughes, who lives close to Katy High School, where Dalton once roamed, remembers making several trips from Houston to Fort Worth with Dalton.

“I grew up with him,” said Hughes, who watched Dalton win a game for the Bengals that put his Bills in the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. .

“For a Horned Frog like myself, it was a dream come true to see that guy throw that touchdown pass. Bills fans wanted to show their appreciation. That was really cool to see them do that.”

Dalton, who has moved from Fort Worth to Highland Park so his kids are closer to the in-laws, said the gatherings at TCU Pro Day have become a fun reunion for all former TCU players and especially those from the ‘06 class.

“That’s pretty special to catch up and see how everybody is doing,” said Dalton, who visited with Kenny Hill at Pro Day.

It also gives TCU‘s current NFL prospects a boost of confidence to see their forebearers back to lend support.

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“To see my recruiting class be a shining example is great because we put so much work in,” said Hughes, who credits Patterson for seeing him as a defensive end instead of running back coming out of Fort Bend Austin. Patterson also switched Jones from running back to defensive back.

That’s what makes him a great football coach, understanding how to get the most out of a kid,” Hughes said. “We all can’t be running backs. When you get older you understand that and you respect someone for putting you in a position to be successful later on in life.”

TCU‘s Class of ‘06

Player

Team

Round drafted

NFL years

Jerry Hughes

Bills

1

8

Andy Dalton

Bengals

2

7

Marcus Cannon

Patriots

5

7

Marshall Newhouse

Bills

5

8

Colin Jones

Panthers

6

7